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Kathryn B

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Vanderbilt University


biology, biochemistry, chemistry, structural biology, protein biology


Hey y'all! I'm Kathryn and I like learning about the molecules that make up our world. As a PhD student in biochemistry, I study the atomic structures of proteins and how changes in that structure lead to human diseases. I'm especially interested in proteins that hang out in our cell membranes. They're extra special and harder to learn about and that makes them worth studying! In my free time, I'm a bread baker, I sing with my church choir, and I love engaging in one-on-one conversations, both about science and about our lives as scientists. I look forward to mentoring students and helping them discover what interests them and dive deeper into their curiosity!

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Small changes have big impact

In the human body, one small change can have a big impact on health. For many diseases, a single change in a person's DNA is enough to cause disease. In this project, we'll be exploring how mutations in a human gene can cause disease. Using sickle cell anemia as a model, we'll look at what genes are commonly mutated in that disease, what they do to the protein that gene makes, and how those changes to the protein affect protein structure, function, and interaction with other proteins. This will involve some literature searching through different databases, modeling protein structures and mutation effects using structure visualization software, and putting together information at the human level and the protein level to learn how we can think about disease through a comprehensive lens.

What's the best way to paint a picture?

In protein structural biology, scientists use different methods to find out information about what a protein looks like at the atomic level, essentially "painting a picture" of that protein in 3D space. In this project, we'll be exploring the wonderful world of protein structures and the work that scientists do to figure out what that structure is. By examining the structure of a protein that has been solved via multiple methods (including experimental and computational predictions), students will discover the strengths and drawbacks of different structural biology techniques and decide for themselves which method is best.

Coding skills

some python



University of Kansas
BS Bachelor of Science (2018)
Vanderbilt University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

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